For more than half a century, readers and listeners have taken special pleasure in the poetry of X. J. Kennedy. In a Prominent Bar in Secaucus is an ample gathering of his best work: memorable songs, startling lyrics, poems that tell poignant stories, character studies that vie with those of Edwin Arlington Robinson. A master of verbal music, Kennedy has long been praised for his wit and humor; as this collection reveals, many of his poems also reach surprising depths and heights. Donald Hall comments, "many of Kennedy's poems are wit itself. His wit is his way of understanding. No one else writing is capable of the effects in which Kennedy specializes."
This book skims the cream from several slim volumes and six past collections including the prize-winning Nude Descending a Staircase, Cross Ties, and The Lords of Misrule. It restores to print over fifty poems unavailable for decades and adds more than two dozen new poems collected for the first time. Kennedy has long occupied a unique place in American poetry; In a Prominent Bar in Secaucus now offers the first comprehensive collection to span his entire career.
X. J. Kennedy has written poetry, children's verse, and fiction as well as textbooks on writing and literature. Before becoming a full-time writer, he taught at the University of Michigan, the University of North Carolina-Greensboro, Tufts University, Wellesley College, the University of California-Irvine, and Leeds University. He now lives in Lexington, Massachusetts, with his wife and sometime coauthor, Dorothy M. Kennedy.